The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says it was adopting some positions that would make Nigeria the halal hub for sub-Saharan Africa.
Director-General of NEPZA, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, stated this in Abuja, on Tuesday, in his remarks at the 2021 Halal Expo jointly organised by the Abuja Chamber for Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and the Abuja Trade Centre.
Adesugba, who was represented by Mrs Chika Ibekwe from the authority, said that there was the need for stakeholders to collaborate and attract organisations, associations, accreditation bodies and advisory firms to support the halal value chain.
“For us at the Special Economic Zones, we have resolved to support the emerging halal industry by deploying global best practices.
“We are studying the rich opportunities for investors in the halal industry and how our Special Economic Zones can accelerate the expansion of the industry in Nigeria.
“We have adopted some preliminary positions designed to position Nigeria as the Halal hub for Sub-Saharan Africa,’’ he said.
The director general added that there was need to also promote halal standards as a way of attracting enterprises within the halal industry.
“The emerging halal market is to move from importing halal goods to producing same at home.
“Our Special Economic Zones in Kano and other places provide fertile grounds for halal enterprises to establish and even reach African markets.,’’ he said.
He assured that the NEPZA management would work with industry operators to facilitate a strong partnership with the halal industry
Adesugba called on stakeholders to consider the immediate creation of a Halal Trade and Marketing Centre to focus on the opportunities of the Halal economy for manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of Halal products and services.
“The body will fill the missing gaps and also fast track the expansion of the industry in Nigeria. NEPZA will be ready to partner with the ACCI to set up the centre, which will be devoted to developing the halal economy ecosystem.
“The centre will dwell on market intelligence, halal compliance, and growth support services. It will be first of its kind in Africa and will spur Nigeria’s leading role in the African halal market,’’ he said.
And doubling down, the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industrial (ACCI) urges the Federal Government to take advantage of the global business potential of halal for improved economic growth.
Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, the ACCI President made the call Tuesday, at the 2021 Halal Expo, jointly organised by Chamber and Abuja Trade Centre.
Abubakar, who described the Expo as ‘first of its kind’, explained that “Halal is an Arabic word which means lawful and permissible. It should not be confused with sharia-compliant, but everything that is sharia-compliant is also halal.
“Halal cuts across religious divides, as Christians also do not permit certain businesses that concern usury or consumption of certain foods and beverages.
According to Abubakar, “the halal business covers finance, manufacturing, hospitality, fashion and many more’’and that the Expo would help in creating more awareness on halal business potentialities.
He said the expo will also galvanise and harmonise regulatory framework for halal businesses, escalate investment opportunities in halal and expand Nigeria’s outlook in the halal market globally.
“The halal market is at its infancy stage and this expo will help promote it,” he said.
The President of Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Mr John Udeagbala, expressed his association’s willingness to support the development of halal in Nigeria.
Represented by Mr Tijani Ibrahim, the Second Vice President of NACCIMA, Udeagbala urged Nigerians to key in and take advantage of the three trillion dollars global halal potential.
“The global halal industry is valued at three trillion dollars and it is good for Nigeria to key into it,” he advised.
He called for a fully certified halal regulatory body to help provide safer and healthier products and services for Nigerians.
Ibrahim cited inadequate awareness about Islamic banking, double taxation and ignorance on the workings and full potentialities of the halal industry as some of the constraints in promoting halal businesses.
Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, the Director-General of Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) described the expo as long overdue.